Feels like there should be a few folks out on the Missouri River searching for trout this weekend. Really nice temperatures with winds forecast to be around 10-15 mph (not bad at all this time of year). I’m guessing there be a few guys camped at Craig in this nice weather, and a few beers knocked back at Joe’s and Shotgun Annie’s this weekend. The new Craig sewer system is done and the construction work is even over. Nice and quiet with a chance of very good fishing…
The Missouri is still on the shift after the bump in water flows last week. I can also feel a drop in water temperature. Not a sudden or drastic one, but as its now down into the 38° range, your feet can feel that its cold. Those two factors are pushing the fish into deeper water, but they haven’t moved all the way down into the winter tanks. They are still favoring a decent current, so I’d suggest looking at the heads and bailouts of long runs.
The black leech is still my best pattern. Sara and I spent a few hours floating from the Dam to Wolf Creek yesterday with Russell Schmidt from G. Loomis. Finding and catching fish was pretty easy on the two-hander, and the deeper tips outfitted the lighter ones. The Leech was money, but we also caught fish on some smaller buggers. As usual for this time of year, the Rainbows we caught were all big.
But this Leech isn’t the only fly producing. Medium sized flashy patterns are starting to work well (about a month later than normal). Whitney Gould and Mike McCune were out yesterday and reported some good action on the Shock & Awe, a slender baitfish pattern tied on a tube (available at the shop). Kreelex, Foxy Clouser, Thin Mint, Brown Skiddish Smolt and Zonkers are also consistent patterns right now.
Streamer fishing from the boat is also good right now, and if you’re headed to the canyon make sure and rig up a 6 or 7 weight with any of the above patterns. You’ll usually not find me throwing huge articulated streamers on the Missouri, but if I was going to right now might be the time and the Canyon the place.
No clue on the nymphing report, I haven’t heard much in recent weeks. I suspect its pretty good if you can pinpoint the right current depth and speed. The typical Mo’ winter nymphs should produce. Think pink.
Bottom line… the weather is unseasonably warm, the scenery and light are spectacular right now, and the fish – especially the Rainbow Trout -are in fantastic shape and you’ll catch some of the largest fish you’ll catch all year. Time to hit it. Good Luck…